The Laundry Floweth Over

(?) TAG blogroll

From Jimmy O'Regan

TAG members' blogs are getting more and more mentions, so I rolled up an OPML file (blogroll, whatever) for possible inclusion in this month's 'Gazette Matters' section. (It'd probably be nice to have some sort of static location for an updateable file, but I'll worry about that next month).


(!) [Jason] Thanks, Jimmy. I didn't know that Raj was on, or that Barry O'Donovan had a blog.
For those of you who haven't tried, I would encourage you to give it a shot. It's a nice system, but it's not too terribly well documented, so some features are non-obvious. A couple links for the interested:
(!) [Suramya] Cool idea. I want in.. :) Didn't know that so many from TAG had blogs. Now I have more sites to waste time at during work.
(!) [Thomas] Nice idea. My "blogs" aren't (thankfully). I find my conversations with Mike Orr suffice. :)
(!) [Ben] It's been ages and ages since I've updated mine; I suppose I can just twist your usage of it into a reminder for myself to bang out some verbiage in that direction. :)
(!) [Sluggo] I've been meaning to start a blog but never gotten around to it. The convergence of anti-war and pro-war protestors in Texas has given new impetus, as people seem to be missing the point. (Yes, Bush lied. No, an immediate withdrawl is not necessarily the best choice. The point is presidential accountability, honesty, conflicts of interest, etc, not how long the troops stay. You have to build a house on solid rock if you want it to stand.
(!) [Ben] I agree with a fair amount of that - but let's not forget an important "and". And we have to stop bleeding from an open wound, NOW.
Not everybody will agree with me, but my opinion is that Bush and his cronies are directly responsible for most of the deaths in New Orleans. They cut the federal funds - e.g., 50+% of the highways and 70+% of all other roads in the US are out of maintenance due to lack of money [1]; 57% of all town-maintained bridges are in "barely adequate" condition [2] - that was supposed to go to keeping those levees maintained. They withdrew the people and the equipment (we need them to Keep Us Safe in Iraq, y'know!) that would have closed that last breach - the one that forced the last evacuation and sent a 9' wall of water from Lake Pontchartrain into those areas. They sent so much plywood to Iraq last year that the people here in the Southeast couldn't buy any when they needed it to stop the hurricanes from destroying their homes.
If he doesn't get impeached over this, then this country has lost whatever balls - and whatever hope - it had.
(!) [Sluggo] And climate change and our new energy non-policy are much more serious matters overall. But we seem to have evolved to the point where "Stay the course!" and "Bring the troops home now!" are the only alternatives capable of galvanizing sufficient people to make it happen. Perhaps that's another Vietnam echo.)
(!) [Ben] [sigh] Yeah. It sucks that people can't hear those calls until there's a disaster, and people start dying. IT'S TOO GODDAMN LATE BY THEN, PEOPLE!!!
Oh well. It's just me and my lefty ranting.
Welcome to 3rd world status, my fellow Americans!
(!) [John] I stumbled across an article just the other day - no doubt just one of many such to be found on the 'net these days:
aliased to:
... not to say that it's representative of popular opinion.
But if I had to choose from one of the two alternatives you mention, I'd definitely go with the latter one.
(!) [Ben] Yeah; strong ditto. I volunteered and went into the Army during the Iran hostage crisis because I felt that America needed defending;
(!) [John] Interesting. This is not meant to denigrate in any way your service, which I think was a very honorable action. But several years ago I read two independently written books on the subject, both under the same title "October Surprise". One was authored by Barbara Honegger, a former White House aide during the Reagan Admin, the other by Gary Sick, a career Navy officer who served on the National Security Council staff under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan and has a doctorate in political science. Both books made the same assertion, that the Carter admin's effort to free the hostages was sabotaged by a group of insiders within the Reagan camp. Honneger's book was perhaps more detailed; the scope of the investigation she did was very impressive.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I have absolutely no confidence in the moral rectitude of the abysmal U.S. foreign policy; and Iraq is no exception. The rhetoric was very weak and for a lot us, a thin but transparent veil to justify a preplanned agenda of completely unjustified foreign aggression.
(!) [Ben] I'm not alone [1] now in saying that this war is nothing more than mass murder - of our people and of Iraqi civilans - that will cost us, big, in the short and the long term.
(!) [John] Here's hoping that between the two fiascos, sufficient public ire will be raised to hold the current ( illicitly "elected" ) administration accountable for some of the egregious transgressions it has committed against U.S. citizenry and the rest of the worlds population.
(!) [Sluggo] I'm not saying they should stay longer, although I worry about the likely civil war when they leave.
(!) [Ben] Take a look at the article that John cited, as well as the URL that I sent. The longer we stay, the likelier and the bloodier that civil war is going to be.
(!) [Sluggo] The article by William Odom is really excellent. Talking about how all the major fears of the consequences of a pullout have already happened. And asking why Democrats have refused to take Bush on.
(!) [John] Hmm. If only that would happen ... but perhaps they're wary of being "Wellstoned"
For those outside of the U.S., with short memories, or both, Paul Wellstone was a Senator who was willing to stand up to the Busch mafia, and had voted against the Iraq war in the Senate.
He was considered by virtually all who knew him to be of very high moral character, often described as "impossible to dislike", and very dedicated to the principles of democracy (as much as that word is being abused by he current administration). He was killed, along with his wife, daughter two pilots and two staff members, in a crash of a Beech King plane (25% fewer fatal crashes than other planes in its class). No cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorders were found - both FAA requirements - strangely missing after an FBI team arrival on the scene from Minneapolis, within two hours after the crash. After conducting an investigation, two university professors, James Fetzer PhD., and Don Jacobs PhD., both authors of numerous books, collaborated on yet another, "The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone", and concluded that it had been an assassination.
.. then there was the death-by-car-accident of Athan Gibbs (shortly after publication of a widely circulated article), an advocate of paper trail electronic voting, who had developed a product he called "TruVote" made by his company under the same name. His product could have ended the black box vote.
(!) [Sluggo] (And it bears repeating that the real villains are al-Q & Co, whose ultimate goal is to forcibly talibanize Iraq and the entire middle east, whether the residents want it or not. I don't think imposed elections or exploitation by Halliburton is any more evil than that.)
(!) [Ben] I'm saying that their evil is additive - whether by deepening the people's misery or spreading it out to involve a greater number.
Have you heard the latest estimate of how much it'll take to rebuild New Orleans? About three weeks of the Iraq war budget, that's how much.
(!) [Kat] Three months, actually, but it's still a huge indicator of how much this war is bleeding out the U.S. with no actual benefit.
(!) [Sluggo] I'm just saying troop withdrawl should be part of a comprehensive strategy, not just done blindly and piecemeal. That's the "middle road" I'm hoping will emerge.
(!) [Ben] I agree, of course - Juan Cole has proposed just exactly such a middle road, as well as a plan for mitigating the possible fallout for the locals. These are well-considered plans by intelligent, knowledgeable people... and I believe that we're going to leave as we did in Vietnam - a rout that shames us (beyond the shame we already bear as a country for this) and results in nothing but death and misery for any friends that we did have in the area.
(!) [Sluggo] It's good thinking out of the box, which is what we need. Funny if the ultimate proposal comes from outside the government, but those inside have refused to offer any, with a couple exceptions, and they've refused to take seriously the proposals that are there.
(!) [Sluggo] And a strategy that also prevents this kind of thing from happening again, otherwise it will.
We really need to take the gag off the troops so they can speak freely for or against the policy, as the rest of the citizenry does. People say without loyalty you don't have an army, and that's true to an extent, but in this case loyalty to commander-in-chief is working against loyalty to society, a society which desperately needs to know what's really going on in Iraq and what their ideas are to fix it. That's been the missing factor in this debate, the people with the best knowledge aren't allowed to speak, except when their opinion happens to coincide with the policy. So the public is left to guess what would have been said, and how many would say it. At least, the portion of the public that notices that something's missing. (Note that this portion is larger than just the "anti-war liberals".)
But the current gag situation is so convenient for those in power that it's a difficult change.
(!) [Ben] Oh, man. So right. That shit just left me shaking with rage; to gag the very people who are putting their lives on the line because they believe - rightly or wrongly - that they're defending their country... it's a certain reipe to make sure that people stop defending it.
(!) [Kat] Livejournal at one point had lots of milblogs -- many of them are "friendslocked" now to comply with the gag order, but those who knew where to look got an eyeful of the ground troops' stories. You might try using LJ's search function to troll around. The archive of the lj community 'ljdemocrats' might be a good place to start looking, as well. I don't know if the photos are still around that were being uploaded from digital cameras in Iraq. While I was looking for that website, I also dug up some URLs for "stories from those who were there" that you might find of interest:
News --,1518,371411,00.html [warning, this one is *graphic*]
(!) [Ben] Have you heard of the recruiting the Army is doing in the Pacific - Guam, Pago Pago, Samoa, Marianas, etc.? They're leveraging the poverty and the citizenship factors to get brown people to kill brown people. Nobody else is going to the recruiters anymore - and it ain't just fear of death; that's never a factor when people believe in the cause being fought for.
   "You can't beat recruiting here in the Marianas, in Micronesia," said
   First Sgt. Olympio Magofna, who grew up on Saipan and oversees
   Pacific recruiting for the Army from his base in Guam. "In the
   states, they are really hurting," he said. "But over here, I can
   afford go play golf every other day."

   Here, where "America starts its day," the Army recruiting station in
   Guam has 4 of the Army's top 12 "producers." While small in real
   terms, enlistments from Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa are the
   nation's highest per capita. Saipan, with a population of about
   60,000 American citizens and green card holders, has 245 soldiers in
(!) [Sluggo] Pie-in-the-sky idea for the "comprehensive strategy": give the military a veto vote -- a majority of all members -- for any future large-scale foreign operations. Not including the Secretary of Defense (Rumsfeld), since he's a presidential appointee.
(!) [Ben] Great idea, Mike - but it'll never happen, since that would take the ultimate club out of the hands of the politicians. Have you noticed that the greatest majority of the chickenhawks never served, or managed to escape the draft (by, e.g., using their anal warts to avoid it)? Take a look at this list of Democrats and Republicans and their military records (as the Army/Marine vet who posted this said, "Draw your own conclusions. I sure have."):
I know what side of that list I want to be on. "Liberal cowards" like Daniel Inouye, John Glenn, Wesley Clark, George McGovern... yeah, I'll stand with them any day.
(!) [Sluggo] That would likely have prevented the Iraq war, since large sections of the Pentagon didn't think it was a good idea. Of course the vote would be skewed upward due to some people voting as their commander would like, but it would be one more check and balance.
(!) [Ben] In Rome, those who decided that war was necessary were the ones who led the troops;
(!) [Sluggo] I've been impressed with how members of the British royal family serve in the military and occasionally take up token target practice. They may be resting on their millions most of the time but at least they occasionally remember why they're in that role. I loved it when Michael Moore went up to congresscritters asking whether they'd volunteer their sons in the war and giving them a recruitment brochure--and the congresscritters ran away.
(!) [John] I liked his published references to "Resident Bush" in alluding to the highly suspicious circumstances of the 2000 presidential election.
(!) [Ben] the consuls would take the field duty in turn (although sometimes both were present - part of the Arausio disaster), and some of them paid for it with their lives. That's got a built-in feedback loop of its own; coupled with the concepts of dignitas, auctoritas, and pietas (which has little to do with the current meaning of "piety" - more like my conception of patriotism, along with a respect for the "natural order" of things), this is what made Rome one of the greatest societies this world has ever known, for 12+ centuries. We've opened those loops, disconnected that responsibility from that authority - and our country is bleeding to death as a result. An obvious, predictable, completely foreseeable result.
(!) [Ben] Nor are you alone in choosing the latter option. Lt. General William E. Odom, Ret. - "What's wrong with cutting and running?":
He's got just a few credentials in the matter:
Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a Senior
Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was
Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981
to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the
Army's senior intelligence officer. From 1977 to 1981, he was Military
Assistant to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs,
Zbigniew Brzezinski.
(!) [Sluggo] I've been torn between "do it yourself" blogging (modifying pyBlosxom -- or using one of the services. The services remind me of Yahoo Groups: good luck trying to export the data sometime later without screen scraping. And a lot of my entries would fit better into a topic hierarchy than a linear date order.

(?) It's not that bad, really! Most of the popular blog systems have some sort of API (e.g. Blogger: that's intended for editing software, but can be used for migration (WordPress does this).

You probably don't want to use a hierarchical layout for topics: multiple tags/categories are much better, just compare with regular bookmarks. I've yet to come across a free blogging service that allows you to use categories, but you can simulate the feature using

(!) [Martin] How does cope with existing browser bookmarks? Can you upload a file containing all your existing bookmarks and tag em later?

(?) No, although people have written scripts to do something similar ( has an API that gives you complete control over your bookmarks). This sort of behaviour is frowned upon: there's a bookmarklet around that automatically chooses your tags for you, and the creators of are considering banning it. They may allow a default 'system:readlater' tag for untagged items, but in general it defeats the purpose of the system to add things untagged.

(!) [Kat] Livejournal currently has tags implemented, although the primary organization is by date.
There are a few different implementations of offline archival for lj entries, as well.

(?) Yeah. Many moons ago, I had started writing an article about blogging clients, but ran out of time and forgot about it.


Front and Back: Blogging

Straight off the bat, I have to admit that this month's article doesn't quite fit as neatly under this category, but it does fit the general theme of matching GUI and CLI apps. This month's candidates are clive ( and Deepest Sender (, though I will also look at using BloGtk ( to access Blogger ( and Blogger-compatible sites.

So why LiveJournal? Well, it seems most of the net connected world is blogging, and LiveJournal seems to be the most popular blogging site. I must admit that, having previously looked at the site, I had dismissed it as a bunch of teenagers whining about the world - I've been there, done that, worn the (black) t-shirt, and didn't feel too inclined to take part in that.

What changed my mind was discovering that fellow LG author Ashwin N (../authors/ashwin.html) keeps a blog on LiveJournal, although I had made my mind up to look at at least one blogging site to see how they were using RSS. Discovering that LiveJournal also uses FOAF lead to my Damascene conversion.

Why use client software anyway?

Since LiveJournal is web-based, it's reasonable to assume that a blog can be updated from your choice of browser, and you would be correct in that assumption. LiveJournal, however, encourages the use of client software. I prefer this to trying to use the web interface, for the simple reason that the links to post entries tend to be hard to find, and my bookmarks file is too bloated to use.

Another reason is that it makes editing prior entries a lot easier, though many people frown on this sort of thing. BloGtk also has the ability to edit offline, which is a major plus for anyone who uses a modem - it's all too easy to forget that we don't all have ADSL. (LJ)Clive invokes $EDITOR, so although it doesn't support offline editing directly, you can always fake it.


(!) [Jay] After a year of being a Wikipedian, I desperately want to figure out a way to make Mediawiki into a blogging engine. I have the design mostly in my head, I just ain't a good enough PHP wonk to implement.

(?) Have a look around someone's probably done it already.

(?) Since I'm plugging, I should explain why it's cool. A few days ago I found a GPL'd Polish < ;-> English dictionary ( If I was to file this in my bookmarks, I'd have to choose between, say, 'Polish', 'Software', or keep bookmarking it in different places until I'm pretty sure I've got all bases covered.

With, I bookmark it once, using a convenient bookmarklet, enter each tag, and it's automatically available in a 'folder' for each tag:, and so on. On top of that, you can combine pairs of tags like this: and see only links with both tags.

Then there are the benefits that come from being a multi-user system: I can view other people's bookmarks, all bookmarks that use a certain tag, etc. has an 'Inbox' feature, so you can subscribe to these within, and because it generates RSS feeds for everything, you can subscribe with a feedreader. You can also send bookmarks to other people's Inboxes by using a tag like 'for:jimregan', and because these are also 'regular' tags, you can use them as normal: I know I've got a funny link that I thought Jason would enjoy, so I use and there it is:

There's also been a recent improvement in the posting interface, so, when adding a new link, you can click on any of your existing tags, accept's best guess (a link would have 'linux' as a suggestion), or, if the link is popular, choose from a list of popular tags for that item.

It also comes with a nice, easy to use REST API, so you can always grab all your data at any stage.

(!) [Jay] Does it come with (or has anyone written) a nice, packaged "backup all my links in a local bookmarks.html file" script, so I don't have to write it?

(?) I did: It needs Perl, Net::Delicious, and Netscape::Bookmarks (available from any good CPAN mirror).

(!) [Jay] And can you distinguish between public, (group,) and private bookmarks?

(?) No, public only.

(!) [Sluggo] What's the most politically correct blogging service? E.g., run by volunteers or a "good" company like OSTG, Linux-using, not treating members like children, etc?
(!) [PeteJ] I'll probably get howls of derision for this, but appears to meet the 'good' company, linux-using, not treating members like children (yes, I'm aware that a large majority of Livejournal users are teenagers) criteria.

(?) Plus (at least some of) their software is open source.

(!) [Jason] Well, I'm using Blogger, which is owned by Google, which may or may not count as a "good" company, depending on your views.
As for not treating members as children...
I'm using Textile[1], which is one of those "smart" text-to-HTML markup deals. I type out a post in vim under mutt, hit a keybinding to pipe the mail through Redcloth (A Ruby Textile implementation), and then mail the message to a magic address with automatically posts it.
Now, it turns out that the email gateway eats newlines, whichs marks marking something up with <pre> pretty useless. I've emailed them about this. We'll see if they blow me off. Stay tuned...
Redcloth lives at
(!) [Heather] If I recall correctly, Wordpress is gaining popularity, but I'm not sure if it's a service, or a webapp that one installs and runs.
(!) [Jason] "Yes". :)
Wordpress is a PHP CMS/blogging framework. You can install it yourself if you've got webspace with PHP+MySQL. I believe that some services use Wordpress, or at least the option to use Wordpress, so you could get it a service if you really wanted it.
(!) [Heather] Jim does something akin to bloggin, on part of SysadMoin. I suppose I should use the MonthCalendar bits.
(!) [Rick] FYI, the OSTG cluster of Web sites (formerly OSDN, formerly is operated by a proprietary software firm that starting 2002 has specifically proclaimed itself "no longer a Linux company". See:
(!) [Sluggo] PS. What's the deal with incomplete "is" sentences? First Heather writes "the problem is that menu interface standardization isn't" [1], and now Thomas tells us his blogs "aren't". Aren't what? Existing? Is this some jargon du jour? Or some conspiracy by the TAG editors?
(!) [Heather] "Variables won't, constants aren't." -- Murphy
It's a word doubling effect. The standardization (itself) isn't (standard). Thomes' blogs aren't (web logs, per se).
(!) [Thomas] Heh. Maybe that's my Americanism coming through? I know it lacks a qualifier, but since the term "blog" was mentioned previously, to say that it then "is not" or "are not", just about suffices, no? :) Otherwise, I'd have to write:
".... blogs aren't blogs", which is just adding an extra word. I know, it's lazy. :P
(!) [Ben] It isn't.
(!) [Brian] Yes, it is.
(!) [Sluggo]
---'Tis not!
---'Tis too!
(!) [Brian] At least when my tin foil hat wearing I am.
(!) [Sluggo] Oh, that was a hat? I thought it was part of some bulletproofing mechanism.
[Cancel comment. It was meant to be directed at Ben. It doesn't apply to Brian unless he wants to be another honorary Bad Guy. If so, I'll let you settle with Ben regarding what your relative status is compared to him. (That could be bloody....)]
(!) [PeteJ] There is a TAG Cabal, not! (used to be popular around these parts about 15 years ago, to put ', not' on the end of positive answers).
(!) [Sluggo] That's not the same thing though. :)
(!) [Ben] Is. :)
(!) [Sluggo] It's clear that the missing predicate is "some conspiracy by the TAG editors". I'm talking about cases where there is no previous predicate. (i.e., where the previous predicate isn't.) It's worse than:
-- Do you want an apple or a banana?
-- Yes.
(!) [Ben]
 -- "Do you want to go skiing or scuba diving?"
 -- "What answer other than 'yes' were you expecting?"
(!) [Heather] giggle

(?) Ask an ambiguous question, get an ambiguous answer. In this case, the question is doubly ambiguous.

Firstly, the question is being asked with an implicit second question: 'And if so, which would you like'. The second speaker doesn't see that, and is presumably expecting a follow-up question.

Secondly: think back to when you were a school kid:

'Do you want some chocolate'
'Yes please'
'I wasn't offering, I was just asking if you want some'


(!) [Sluggo]
-- [dumbfounded] What??
-- I want both.
(!) [Ben] "Visualize the power of 'and'."
(!) [Heather] The programmer in me took that as accepting the OR status, which would lead to either. (Possibly, accepting the "want" status, where the OR comes for free.) "No" would lead to both (negating the OR, preferring AND) ... or to wanting an unlisted item ... and probably to a bit of gentle biffing about that smirk on the speaker's face. "No" in the right tone would suggest that they don't want one, but they expect to get one anyway, e.g. fruits on doctor's orders.
Good friends would probably know what the answer really was - everyone else is supposed to be dumbfounded.
(!) [Heather] Funny you should mention that. One of my favorite things to do to torture people who come up with convoluted but somehow incomplete descriptions is to look up at them sweetly and say in a tone that resembles "please continue" ... "and...?"
Since they thought they were finished (though goodness knows why since they're barely sure what they are asking) this tends to make them pause and tumble over the sentence in their head several times while I shake it for its loose change, checking if there's enough in there to buy a ticket on the clue train. Often, this forced pause does some good, and there's few pleasures I favor more than seeing the light bulb going on over someone's head :)
In this case, however, two words would have been better than one. "No, and :P"
(!) [Sluggo] That always throws me when people say that.
(!) [Thomas] I used to get that all the time working at Lulworth... :)
(!) [Sluggo] But it's eventually clear they mean "both".

(?) But that's just plain wrong. 'No' would be a somewhat correct answer if you want both, as you don't want an apple or a banana (the only really correct answer would be to ask if both are on offer). 'Yes' is correct for either an apple or a banana.

(!) [Sluggo] But these "is" sentences, I'm not even sure what they mean.
(!) [Heather] I hope my little comments have helped :)
(!) [Jay] That's the most polite version of
that I've ever seen. :-)
(!) [Ben] Mike, you're too focused on linguistics to recognize people playing with language [1] (I swear, one of these days I'm going to get a t-shirt that says "plays with language" - and Kat would kill me if I didn't get her one as well.) Relax, dude. Language play is. :)
(!) [Kat Tanaka] I wouldn't kill you, Ben.

(?) Maim, then. At the very least, a decent paper-cut?

(!) [Kat] So bloodthirsty! No, I wouldn't maim him -- it might stain the shirt!

(?) Yeesh. There are perfectly good ways of maiming available without shedding a drop of blood. You're overlooking, for example, the 'mangling' option (a personal favourite).

(!) [Kat] Then I'd have to find someone else to be 'tall' for me. And burly. And that clever thing. And...

(?) Open those hard to open jars?

(!) [Kat] You can't retail your anti-Ben[1] mayhem to me, Mr. O'Regan! You'll have to do it yourself. ([1] Wait, if it's directed toward Ben, is that *pro*Ben?)

(?) "proBen" sounds like something a hillbilly alien would do for kicks.

'Ad'+locative is towards, isn't it?

/me googles

Here we go:


It's late at night. Brian has just finished painting his variety of
"Romans, go home" in Latin, when a Roman centurion arrives with his men.

Centurion:  What is this then? Romanes eunt domus, "People called
            Romanes they go the house"?
Brian:      It-it says, "Romans, go home"!
Centurion:  No, it doesn't! What's Latin for "Roman"? [grabs Brian's
            ear] Come on, come on!
Brian:      Romanus!
Centurion:  Goes like?
Brian:      Annus!
Centurion:  Vocative plural of annus  is...?
Brian:      Anni?
Centurion:  [writes] Romani.  And eunt? What is eunt?
Brian:      "Go"! Let-
Centurion:  Conjugate the verb "to go".
Brian:      Ire; eo, is, it, imus, itis, eunt!
Centurion:  So eunt is...?
Brian:      Third person plural, present indicative. "They go!"
Centurion:  But "Romans, go home" is an order, so you must use the...?
Brian:      The... imperative!
Centurion:  Which is...?
Brian:      I!
Centurion:  [twisting Brian's ear] How many Romans?
Brian:      [yelling] I.. Plural, plural! Ite, ite!
Centurion:  [writing] Ite. Domus?  Nominative? But "go home", it is
            motion towards, isn't it, boy?
Brian:      Dative, sir!

[The centurion promptly draws his swords and presses it against Brian's
throat. Brian yells:]

            No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! The... accusative,
            accusative! Domum, sir, ad domum!
Centurion:  Except that domus  takes the...?
Brian:      The locative, sir!
Centurion:  Which is?
Brian:      Domum!
Centurion:  [writing] Domum... -um [sheathing his sword] Understand?
            [Brian nods eagerly]
            Now, write it out a hundred times!
Brian:      Yes, sir, thank you, sir! Hail Caesar!
Centurion:  Hail Caesar. If it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your
            balls off!
Brian:      Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar and
            everything, sir!


(!) [Kat] (Waste of good resources, that! How would I replace you?)

(?) Haven't you heard? Work has begun on the cloning process. Soon you'll be able to lease (not buy: too much upkeep) Bens by the dozen. Good for translating the collected works of Shakespeare into Perl [1].

(!) [Kat] Wow. I'd heard of cloning bodies, but now we're cloning personalities and knowledge, too?

(?) Nah, just the sunglasses.

(!) [Kat] I wonder what would happen if I kiped the sunglasses?

(?) World domination, as long as you don't get sidetracked.

(!) [Kat] I'd just kipe the shirt.
(!) [Brian] Hmmm...

"Kipe", n. 1. An osier basket used for catching fish.
Tough context for a t-shirt. /me confused (not that surprising, but still...)
(!) [Kat] Er, undocumented slang that was current among some cohort or another, meaning roughly 'appropriate in a friendly but unauthorized fashion'. Borrowing without explicit leave. Something you do between friends or other intimates, rather than outright theft.

(?) Hmm. I'd read 'swipe', which has the same meaning 'round these parts. (As does the more Irish 'feck').

(!) [Kat] "swipe" is also part of my idiolect. When I use it, it implies a bit of a swooping foist. "Swiping fries", for instance, off someone's plate. I don't think I'd say "kiping fries".
'feck' means 'swipe' ? I know it as a minced oath for "fsck", and had been lead to believe that was the Irish usage as well, given that silly comedy that BBCAmerica shows about Irish priests -- "Father Tom" or something.

(?) "Father Ted"? Brilliant. Look for the episode titled "Speed 3", or the one where they hold a protest outside the local cinema.

In most usages, 'feck' is used as a more polite replacement for 'fuck': 'oh feck!', 'feck off', 'he fecked it up', 'that fecker', 'that feckin shitehawk', 'feck ya' (never 'feck you', though); the actual meaning of 'feck' is 'to take without permission': it would suffice for both your 'kipe' and 'swipe' examples, and it also applies in situations where an actual theft has taken place, but the speaker doesn't wish to acknowledge it as such, but that's harder to explain. (It's like there's a line to be crossed in the value of things between fecking and stealing).

(?) On a somewhat related "translating Irishness" note, I was browsing through the local bookshop today, and came across a local biography. I can't remember anything about it, other than the fact that it took the author a whole paragraph to say what amounted to "I was born in Ireland".

I took that as a challenge :)

Allow me to introduce "Typical Irish Biography(TM)" part 1: "I Was Born in Ireland"


I need a place to get the ball rolling, so I may as well start at the place designed for it: at the start. I was born. I don't remember it, but I have some pretty reliable witnesses to it, so I believe it: I was born.

That part wasn't my fault. The rest, well, it's open to debate. They say no-one screws you up like your parents do, but I think I've given it a pretty good shot, and if I can say I've done one thing right, it may as well be that I did everything else wrong.

With the amount of redundancy I've managed to include in the opening pair of paragraphs, it'd probably be an act of further redundancy to say I was born in Ireland, and in the course of spending a whole lifetime here, picked up that oh-so-Irish love of spinning out a story for as long as I can possibly get away with, a bit more, and a sidelong spin into a different story (but hey! that's for another time), but I was, and I did.

So, I was born about as Irish as you can get: my father's family tree stretches back to the time when we're just making it up anyway (just setting the tone), and of course, my mother's family originally came from England. About as Irish as you can get.


(!) [Rick] A wise man once said, "Go not to the Irish for yes or no answers, for they will say 'That reminds me of a story...." (And my wife Deirdre adds, "Well, you know they don't have those words in Gaeilge.")

Heh. I have to admit that I only knew around a third of the phrases listed. One of the best things about having received a scholarship to a Gaeltacht area was that I got to hear quite a few words and phrases the writers of Irish dictionaries won't admit the language has :)

Best quote: 'Here's some advice. Whenever you hear someone starting to say something that begins with "The X have no word for Y", or "The X have N different words for Y", never listen to them, and always check your wallet to make sure it's still there.'

(!) [Sluggo] Go not to the elves for advice, because they will say both yes and no. (--Lord of the Rings)
(!) [Rick] "Is it indeed?" laughed Gildor. (Yes, I've read it, too. How unlikely is that, eh?)
Go not to the machines for counsel, for they will say both 0 and 1.
Go not to the surrealists for counsel, for they will say both blue and hippopotamus.
Go not to the Vorlons for counsel, for they will say both maybe and maybe.
Go not to the USENET for counsel, for they will say both no, and yes, and "That's already answered in the FAQ", and "Try another newsgroup."
Go not to the Jedi for counsel, for they will say "No" and mean "yes$
Go not to the Elvises for counsel, for they will say both "Don't you step on my Blue suede shoes" and "who loves ya, babe."
(!) [Brian] Elvis == Telly Savalas?
Who knew?

(?) Simpsons quotes:

Ned: But Reverend, I need to know, is God punishing me?
Lovejoy: Shooh, short answer: "Yes" with an "If," long answer: "No" --
with a "But."


(Not entirely related, but...)

"The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean
false. It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies, and in the end,
isn't that the real truth? The no."


(!) [Kat]'s probably better if I just ack the greetings from everyone so far in one message rather than sending a bunch of non-'nix noise, eh? Grins back to Brian, Breen, Rick, Mike, and Jimmy. Anyone who greets me after this note will have to be acknowledged later.)
(!) [Kat] Kat, waving hello to TAG for the first time.
(!) [Rick] Kat! Hail, and well met.
(!) [Breen] Geez. It took me long enough to figure out what was going on here.
Welcome, Kat! Glad you've joined us.
(!) [Brian] /me waves back, for myself.

(?) /me checks to make sure it's not another variant of a Russian "let's go" gesture.

(!) [Kat] Oh, those pesky confusing gestures. I think I'll just sit on my hands. Wait, that'll make it hard to type.

(?) Yeah, and keyboards aren't very comfortable.

(!) [Kat] Not even the "ergonomic" ones!

(?) Everything seems to be in order.

Hi :)

[1] Typewriters not included[2].

[2] Before you ask: no, batteries aren't either[3].

[3] That is, not included, not "batteries aren't".

(!) [Kat] Hey, if you get pelted with batteries, they do!

(?) \o/ A battery that isn't of batteries that aren't.

(Mike, how are you holding up? :)

(!) [Kat] What's Mike holding up?
(!) [Sluggo] I complained a couple days ago about phrases like "batteries aren't". Aren't what, existing? Heather said it means the subject is duplicated: "batteries aren't batteries". Then Thomas cryptically said his blogs aren't. If his blogs aren't blogs, what are they?
(!) [Kat] If his blogs aren't blogs, then my read on it is that they're technically blogs in one sense, and not blog-like in another. The batteries thing is a silly play on the multiple meanings of "battery" (in this case, storage device for power vs. 'act of beating or pounding'). So, when Jim said 'not "batteries aren't"', meaning "not 'batteries aren't batteries'", my response was that being pelted by batteries (power storage) would indeed be battery. Clear as mud?
(!) [Sluggo] Welcome to TAG, Kat. Sometimes we talk about Linux. Do you Linux?
(!) [Kat] Currently, the extent of my *nix'ing is bumbling around on . Ironically for someone who once declared "they can take my commandline out of my cold dead hands" and "if I wanted a freakin' Mac, I'd get one, why do I want Windows ?!", my main computing these days is indeed on one of those boxes. I'm looking forward to the series Heather mentioned (by her friend Colleen) about starting *nix from zero. If the main thrust of my computer interaction wasn't graphic design (desktop publishing and such) I'd be more tempted to make a complete transistion. As it is...the leap I'm contemplating is Quark Xpress to Adobe InDesign, not *dows to *nix. Meanwhile, I figure that hanging around TAG and reading Linux Gazette won't be a bad way to get a little more comfortable with the other side of the divide.
(!) [Jimmy] Well, it's sounds like you're the perfect person to write a review of Scribus ( so we Linux-y types know how it holds up :)
(!) [Kat] Thanks for the push there -- sometime soon after Ben completes the review of the HP laptop, I'll start hacking at Scribus to see what I think of it, and I'll certainly write it up for LG when I do.
(!) [Ben] [1] AKA, forest for the trees. AKA, "sir, place the microscope on the ground and step away from it now!"
(!) [Heather] When we're squabbling over what is is, we're pretty sad. Admit it, let it be. c/~ whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
(!) [Sluggo] [1] Subject: Five reasons NOT to use Linux
(!) [Heather]
#include <rant/redhat-out-of-box-policy-gets-more-painful-every-year.h>
...and of course there's only one linux and it's shiny white with a red hat. (not!) Unfortunately it's inevitable, as the noisiest audience to RH changed so did what it thought it wanted for release.
As the "infohighway" and "car" analogies wear onward, I glance at the open streets and see that there's a fad working away from all cars looking basically like teardrops with their eyeballs^Wheadlights shaped slightly different (to maintain proprietary lock in on lamp casings, of course). Some cars are boxy, some look "rugged" (not that 80%+ of SUVs ever get further offroad than potholes in a shopping center's abused parking lot), convertibles are back in style, and subcompact cars (that can only hold small people with any comfort at all) are getting some road too.
The meme leads to people wanting to accessorize and look like individuals. Most of them want to do this but somewhat lazily - which is how K and Gnome respectively took off in the first place, one stop shopping at the control center. Load up the shopping cart with icon kits and let's go home.